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Bridget Miller

Bridget Miller

No doubt you’ve heard that successful people have a tendency to wake up early. However, it’s not the waking up early that makes them successful – it’s what they do with this quiet time.

Think of it this way: If you’ve gained an extra hour in your day by waking up early, are you going to watch celebrity news on TV, or use the time productively to improve your body, mind and life? One thing you could definitely try, is to stretch your brain first thing in the morning. A good way to do this is to list 10 things every day. Let’s see how this works.

Firstly, get yourself a notepad and pen, and leave them by the side of your bed. Once you wake up in the morning (hopefully early!), then immediately pick up the pad and pen. The next step is to write down the day and date (try not to cheat by looking at your cellphone). Then, and this is the key part, write a list heading. This can be any topic at all, but must be one where writing 10 items causes you to think deeply.

As an example for you, imagine choosing this heading for your list today:

Example: 10 Things To Be Grateful For

Now, what you would need to do is to come up with the 10 things. For starters, you may write something like this:

  1. My family
  2. My health
  3. My job

The first three or so items should be relatively easy to list, but after that, your mind will most likely have to dig deep to come up with further examples. This is what you want to happen. As the idea of writing a list of 10 items every day is so that your mind will become sharper, clearer and more creative. It’s also a great way to wake yourself up in a morning!

You shouldn’t need to spend an hour on this activity, instead, aim for 3-10 minutes a day. So, why not try this idea for a week, and see what the results are? You may find that it’s a challenging, but super-rewarding daily mental exercise.

Source : lifehack.org

Travel agents? Who needs one when you have a smartphone. Planning a trip can be a pain, but it’s 2016 and you have all the necessary tools to make your vacation a breeze. From the App Store to Google Play, we’ve rounded up some of the best apps to keep stress to a bare minimum.

Booking

Finding the most affordable flight and hotel, while making sure you’ll have plenty of spending cash during your trip, can be a little tough. Check out these apps to be a master planner.

Skyscanner

skyscanner

Flights, hotels, rental cars — Skyscanner has got you covered. The app searches for the most affordable and best options via its travel partners. Like with Google Flights, you can see the cheapest dates to fly through a month view calendar, and you can also get alerts when prices change. If you’re not sure where exactly you want to go, Skyscanner offers a category that lets you explore “Top Deals” from your nearest airport, as well as a curated list of destinations at affordable prices.

Download now for: 

IOSANDROID

Kayak

kayak

For many, Kayak has been the go-to trip planning destination for quite a while — and for good reason. Like Skyscanner, Kayak searches across various travel sites for rental cars, hotels, and flights. Kayak often has exclusive deals you won’t find on other sites, and you can set price alerts and use Price Forecast to see whether you should buy now or wait. Kayak also acts as a trip planner, offering up important details at a glance like your hotel confirmation number or gate number. You can also access these details in real-time, and on other devices such as the Apple Watch.

Download now for: 

IOS ANDROID

Hopper

hopper

If you’re really looking to get the cheapest possible price for a plane ticket, you need to download Hopper. Like Kayak and Skyscanner, you can look at the cheapest dates to fly via a month-view calendar, but Hopper prides itself on telling you when to buy your tickets via push notifications. The company claims it can save you up to 40 percent on your next flight, and that’s all done by analyzing and tracking billions of flights. The user interface is simple, and Hopper says you can book a flight in 60 seconds or less. Apple added it to the App Store’s Best of 2015 list, and Google made it a 2016 Google Play Award winner.

Download now for: 

IOS ANDROID

Airbnb

airbnb

Whether legal in the city you’re visiting or not, Airbnb is a household name. The app undercuts hotels by offering far cheaper prices, and a more authentic experience by staying with a local, or their home. The app recently added a new feature called Trips, which offers Experiences to choose from during your stay — these are curated events you can partake in with local guides. Eventually the app will become an all-in-one travel app that lets you plan your day, book a car, and more.

Download now for: 

IOS ANDROID

Hotel Tonight

hotel-tonight

Airbnb fall through? Flight get delayed at your layover? You never know what will happen with your booking, and Hotel Tonight is a reliable service that thrives on last minute deals. The company says its partnered hotels offer it discounts on empty rooms, and you’ll be able to book one in under 10 seconds. You also get 24/7 customer service from the Hotel Tonight team, in case something goes awry.

Download now for: 

IOS ANDROID

GETTING AROUND

You’ve finally arrived at your destination, but how do you get around? The following apps should help.

Uber

uber

Active in about 77 countries and 527 cities, Uber is the global king of ride-sharing apps. The app pioneered on-demand services, and it can be particularly handy when you’re abroad. You can quickly request a car directly within the app after perusing an assortment of differing vehicle rates and fare quotes. Afterward, you can connect with your personal driver, track the approaching car’s location, and securely pay your fair using a credit card — no cash needed. Rather than trying to find a taxi or a taxi stand, just bring one straight to you.

Download now for: 

IOS ANDROID

Google Maps

google-maps

Google Maps is widely-regarded as one of the best navigation apps around, and it has reigned king for quite a while. You’ll find it fairly reliable in offering up local public transportation options in many countries, and you can also download specific areas for offline use. You can also use Maps to look at when places like museums or restaurants close, and as of a recent update, you can check to see how busy a place is in real time.

Download now for: 

IOS ANDROID

Citymapper

citymapper

With a growing list of countries under its belt, Citymapper is one of the best tools to find and utilize public transportation. It connects with a few ride-sharing services, offers the fastest way to arrive at your destination, and best of all, you can check out subway and train times offline for a number of cities. You can subscribe to specific train or bus lines, and the app can even alert you when you need to get off — handy when you’re riding for the first time in a new country.

Download now for: 

IOS ANDROID

Before you head out

There’s always something we forget to do before a trip, whether it’s forgetting to pack a pair of slippers or changing some currency. Take a look at these apps to keep you on track.

Packpoint

packpoint

Making a checklist of everything you need to pack can be useful, but what if one’s already made for you? PackPoint looks at the weather forecast for the dates and location of your trip. It will also ask you to select activities you may participate in during your trip, like a meeting for business, a swim at a pool, or a fancy dinner. It will then offer up a list of items you should pack based on these activities, along with general items you’d need on any trip. You can remove items you don’t think are necessary. You can share lists with others, in case your friends need some help, too.

Download now for: 

IOS ANDROID

XE Currency

xe-currency

While it’s not the prettiest app, XE Currency is one of the more robust currency converter apps available for both iOS and Android. It’s constantly being updated and offers live exchange rates for “every world currency and precious metals.” What’s neat is that it can store the most recent rates so you can access them if your device is offline. You can also use the app on your Android Wear or Apple Watch device.

Download now for:

IOS ANDROID

Mobile Passport

mobile-passport

Traveling to the U.S.? Mobile Passport is officially authorized by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and it lets you skip the regular line to enter the country. These lines can get long, so all you need to do skip them is download this app and add your passport information — you can do this quickly by scanning it with your phone’s camera. Mobile Passport is accepted at 20 airports in the U.S., so chances are you’ll be able to use it — we’d recommend checking ahead of time if your airport supports the app.

Download now for: 

IOS ANDROID

Where next?

Looking for a spot for lunch? Have some extra time and want to check out another museum? These apps offer up things to do and the best-rated places to eat during your stay.

Google Trips

google-trips

Google’s relatively-new Trips app can pull reservations from your email — it can add hotel bookings, car rental details, and more. In doing so, it creates an underlying framework for your trip without you having to do much. Once it’s set up, you can browse through the app to look at curated day trips, suggested and popular places to visit or eat at, and you can plan your whole day. Trips lets you store this data offline as well, so you can access at your itinerary and important information at any time.

Download now for: 

IOS ANDROID

TripAdvisor

tripadvisor

TripAdvisor is a catch-all app when it comes to travel. You can quickly peruse millions of reviews, opinions, videos, and photos pertaining to just about anything related to your trip — bars, restaurants, hotels, airlines, and more. You can use TripAdvisor’s Near Me function to find well-reviewed places close by, but the best feature the app has to offer is the number of countries it supports — it’s just everywhere, making it a necessary guide for every traveler. Furthermore, you can ask specific travel questions in the app’s forums or add your own reviews in a similar fashion to Yelp.

Download now for: 

IOS ANDROID

Yelp

yelp

Yelp has officially become the Yellow Pages of restaurant and bars, and its use extends not just in the U.S., but all around the world. Its most powerful feature is the sheer number of reviews housed in the app — it’s an excellent resource for when you’re looking to hit some of the best spots in the country you’re visiting. Yelp also offers hours of operation, a phone number for listings, and sometimes even a menu, so you can be as prepared as possible before heading out.

Download now for:

IOS ANDROID

SPEAK THE LANGUAGE

If you’re traveling to a country where your native tongue isn’t the official language, you may as well pack a few of these apps to translate on the go or brush up your language skills.

Google Translate

google-translate

Google Translate remains just as remarkable as it was upon its debut. The app provides translations, now more conversational thanks to machine learning, between 103 different languages, allowing you to listen to translations out loud and translate dictation and your own handwriting on-screen. You can star your favorite words or phrases for offline access, or view dictionary results for a single word or phrase. Translate also lets you leave a persistent notification so you can translate quickly in any other app.

Download now for: 

IOS ANDROID

Duolingo

duolingo

If you’ve booked your trip months ahead of time, try tackling the country’s language in Duolingo. It offers beginner level courses, but it’s also a great tool for those looking to brush up on a language. You can also chat with bots in select languages, and this can particularly be helpful when you’re trying to learn the phrases you’re likely to use the most abroad. You can take placement tests to move up levels to tougher sections.

Download now for:

IOS ANDROID

Memrise

memrise

Memrise has more languages than Duolingo, and the app also uses mnemonics to help you memorize words and phrases. The company says the app adapts to your learning style over time, and best of all there’s a pro version that lets you unlock even more features, such as an offline mode. It’ll cost you $9 for a one-month subscription.

Download now for: 

IOS ANDROID

DAY TO DAY

The following are a handful of miscellaneous apps you may find useful during your time abroad.

Circa

circa

If you’re traveling through multiple countries in a short period, it can be a little tricky to keep track of the time. Circa is a beautiful and simple timezone tracker that lets you check what time it is where you are, and where you’re heading. You can also add your home time, in case you want to keep in touch with people back home. The app will show times that overlap where both parties should be awake. You can also use the app on the Apple Watch and it’s now available on Android.

Download now for: 

IOS ANDROID

WhatsApp

whatsapp

WhatsApp has more than a billion users, and it’s highly likely you’ll run into someone abroad that uses the service. Chances are they don’t use SMS, unlike the States. Having the app installed before heading on your trip can be useful in case you make new friends and need a quick way to chat with them. It’s also an easy way to keep in touch with people back home. You’ll still need a data connection or Wi-Fi to be able to send messages.

Download now for:

IOS ANDROID

Expensify

expensify

On a business trip? Expensify will solve all your expense-related problems. Create a report and start adding every receipt — you can do this manually, or use your phone’s camera to scan the receipt and have the app fill information in. Once your trip is complete, all you need to do is email the full report to your supervisor — they’ll see every receipt, and a quick breakdown of how much you need to be reimbursed.

Download now for: 

IOS ANDROID

Hotspot Shield Free Privacy & Security VPN Proxy

hotspot-shield

In your travels, you may find that certain countries block select websites, like Facebook and Google. One way to get around them is to use a VPN, or a virtual private network, to securely access those blocked sites. Hotspot Shield doesn’t require you to log in, and has a wide coverage that includes 17 countries. Your information is completely private, and connecting to a VPN is dead simple — it just requires a single tap.

Download now for: 

IOS ANDROID

Source : digitaltrends.com

Travel agents? Who needs one when you have a smartphone. Planning a trip can be a pain, but it’s 2016 and you have all the necessary tools to make your vacation a breeze. From the App Store to Google Play, we’ve rounded up some of the best apps to keep stress to a bare minimum.

Booking

Finding the most affordable flight and hotel, while making sure you’ll have plenty of spending cash during your trip, can be a little tough. Check out these apps to be a master planner.

Skyscanner

skyscanner

Flights, hotels, rental cars — Skyscanner has got you covered. The app searches for the most affordable and best options via its travel partners. Like with Google Flights, you can see the cheapest dates to fly through a month view calendar, and you can also get alerts when prices change. If you’re not sure where exactly you want to go, Skyscanner offers a category that lets you explore “Top Deals” from your nearest airport, as well as a curated list of destinations at affordable prices.

Download now for: 

IOSANDROID

Kayak

kayak

For many, Kayak has been the go-to trip planning destination for quite a while — and for good reason. Like Skyscanner, Kayak searches across various travel sites for rental cars, hotels, and flights. Kayak often has exclusive deals you won’t find on other sites, and you can set price alerts and use Price Forecast to see whether you should buy now or wait. Kayak also acts as a trip planner, offering up important details at a glance like your hotel confirmation number or gate number. You can also access these details in real-time, and on other devices such as the Apple Watch.

Download now for: 

IOS ANDROID

Hopper

hopper

If you’re really looking to get the cheapest possible price for a plane ticket, you need to download Hopper. Like Kayak and Skyscanner, you can look at the cheapest dates to fly via a month-view calendar, but Hopper prides itself on telling you when to buy your tickets via push notifications. The company claims it can save you up to 40 percent on your next flight, and that’s all done by analyzing and tracking billions of flights. The user interface is simple, and Hopper says you can book a flight in 60 seconds or less. Apple added it to the App Store’s Best of 2015 list, and Google made it a 2016 Google Play Award winner.

Download now for: 

IOS ANDROID

Airbnb

airbnb

Whether legal in the city you’re visiting or not, Airbnb is a household name. The app undercuts hotels by offering far cheaper prices, and a more authentic experience by staying with a local, or their home. The app recently added a new feature called Trips, which offers Experiences to choose from during your stay — these are curated events you can partake in with local guides. Eventually the app will become an all-in-one travel app that lets you plan your day, book a car, and more.

Download now for: 

IOS ANDROID

Hotel Tonight

hotel-tonight

Airbnb fall through? Flight get delayed at your layover? You never know what will happen with your booking, and Hotel Tonight is a reliable service that thrives on last minute deals. The company says its partnered hotels offer it discounts on empty rooms, and you’ll be able to book one in under 10 seconds. You also get 24/7 customer service from the Hotel Tonight team, in case something goes awry.

Download now for: 

IOS ANDROID

GETTING AROUND

You’ve finally arrived at your destination, but how do you get around? The following apps should help.

Uber

uber

Active in about 77 countries and 527 cities, Uber is the global king of ride-sharing apps. The app pioneered on-demand services, and it can be particularly handy when you’re abroad. You can quickly request a car directly within the app after perusing an assortment of differing vehicle rates and fare quotes. Afterward, you can connect with your personal driver, track the approaching car’s location, and securely pay your fair using a credit card — no cash needed. Rather than trying to find a taxi or a taxi stand, just bring one straight to you.

Download now for: 

IOS ANDROID

Google Maps

google-maps

Google Maps is widely-regarded as one of the best navigation apps around, and it has reigned king for quite a while. You’ll find it fairly reliable in offering up local public transportation options in many countries, and you can also download specific areas for offline use. You can also use Maps to look at when places like museums or restaurants close, and as of a recent update, you can check to see how busy a place is in real time.

Download now for: 

IOS ANDROID

Citymapper

citymapper

With a growing list of countries under its belt, Citymapper is one of the best tools to find and utilize public transportation. It connects with a few ride-sharing services, offers the fastest way to arrive at your destination, and best of all, you can check out subway and train times offline for a number of cities. You can subscribe to specific train or bus lines, and the app can even alert you when you need to get off — handy when you’re riding for the first time in a new country.

Download now for: 

IOS ANDROID

Before you head out

There’s always something we forget to do before a trip, whether it’s forgetting to pack a pair of slippers or changing some currency. Take a look at these apps to keep you on track.

Packpoint

packpoint

Making a checklist of everything you need to pack can be useful, but what if one’s already made for you? PackPoint looks at the weather forecast for the dates and location of your trip. It will also ask you to select activities you may participate in during your trip, like a meeting for business, a swim at a pool, or a fancy dinner. It will then offer up a list of items you should pack based on these activities, along with general items you’d need on any trip. You can remove items you don’t think are necessary. You can share lists with others, in case your friends need some help, too.

Download now for: 

IOS ANDROID

XE Currency

xe-currency

While it’s not the prettiest app, XE Currency is one of the more robust currency converter apps available for both iOS and Android. It’s constantly being updated and offers live exchange rates for “every world currency and precious metals.” What’s neat is that it can store the most recent rates so you can access them if your device is offline. You can also use the app on your Android Wear or Apple Watch device.

Download now for:

IOS ANDROID

Mobile Passport

mobile-passport

Traveling to the U.S.? Mobile Passport is officially authorized by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and it lets you skip the regular line to enter the country. These lines can get long, so all you need to do skip them is download this app and add your passport information — you can do this quickly by scanning it with your phone’s camera. Mobile Passport is accepted at 20 airports in the U.S., so chances are you’ll be able to use it — we’d recommend checking ahead of time if your airport supports the app.

Download now for: 

IOS ANDROID

Where next?

Looking for a spot for lunch? Have some extra time and want to check out another museum? These apps offer up things to do and the best-rated places to eat during your stay.

Google Trips

google-trips

Google’s relatively-new Trips app can pull reservations from your email — it can add hotel bookings, car rental details, and more. In doing so, it creates an underlying framework for your trip without you having to do much. Once it’s set up, you can browse through the app to look at curated day trips, suggested and popular places to visit or eat at, and you can plan your whole day. Trips lets you store this data offline as well, so you can access at your itinerary and important information at any time.

Download now for: 

IOS ANDROID

TripAdvisor

tripadvisor

TripAdvisor is a catch-all app when it comes to travel. You can quickly peruse millions of reviews, opinions, videos, and photos pertaining to just about anything related to your trip — bars, restaurants, hotels, airlines, and more. You can use TripAdvisor’s Near Me function to find well-reviewed places close by, but the best feature the app has to offer is the number of countries it supports — it’s just everywhere, making it a necessary guide for every traveler. Furthermore, you can ask specific travel questions in the app’s forums or add your own reviews in a similar fashion to Yelp.

Download now for: 

IOS ANDROID

Yelp

yelp

Yelp has officially become the Yellow Pages of restaurant and bars, and its use extends not just in the U.S., but all around the world. Its most powerful feature is the sheer number of reviews housed in the app — it’s an excellent resource for when you’re looking to hit some of the best spots in the country you’re visiting. Yelp also offers hours of operation, a phone number for listings, and sometimes even a menu, so you can be as prepared as possible before heading out.

Download now for:

IOS ANDROID

SPEAK THE LANGUAGE

If you’re traveling to a country where your native tongue isn’t the official language, you may as well pack a few of these apps to translate on the go or brush up your language skills.

Google Translate

google-translate

Google Translate remains just as remarkable as it was upon its debut. The app provides translations, now more conversational thanks to machine learning, between 103 different languages, allowing you to listen to translations out loud and translate dictation and your own handwriting on-screen. You can star your favorite words or phrases for offline access, or view dictionary results for a single word or phrase. Translate also lets you leave a persistent notification so you can translate quickly in any other app.

Download now for: 

IOS ANDROID

Duolingo

duolingo

If you’ve booked your trip months ahead of time, try tackling the country’s language in Duolingo. It offers beginner level courses, but it’s also a great tool for those looking to brush up on a language. You can also chat with bots in select languages, and this can particularly be helpful when you’re trying to learn the phrases you’re likely to use the most abroad. You can take placement tests to move up levels to tougher sections.

Download now for:

IOS ANDROID

Memrise

memrise

Memrise has more languages than Duolingo, and the app also uses mnemonics to help you memorize words and phrases. The company says the app adapts to your learning style over time, and best of all there’s a pro version that lets you unlock even more features, such as an offline mode. It’ll cost you $9 for a one-month subscription.

Download now for: 

IOS ANDROID

DAY TO DAY

The following are a handful of miscellaneous apps you may find useful during your time abroad.

Circa

circa

If you’re traveling through multiple countries in a short period, it can be a little tricky to keep track of the time. Circa is a beautiful and simple timezone tracker that lets you check what time it is where you are, and where you’re heading. You can also add your home time, in case you want to keep in touch with people back home. The app will show times that overlap where both parties should be awake. You can also use the app on the Apple Watch and it’s now available on Android.

Download now for: 

IOS ANDROID

WhatsApp

whatsapp

WhatsApp has more than a billion users, and it’s highly likely you’ll run into someone abroad that uses the service. Chances are they don’t use SMS, unlike the States. Having the app installed before heading on your trip can be useful in case you make new friends and need a quick way to chat with them. It’s also an easy way to keep in touch with people back home. You’ll still need a data connection or Wi-Fi to be able to send messages.

Download now for:

IOS ANDROID

Expensify

expensify

On a business trip? Expensify will solve all your expense-related problems. Create a report and start adding every receipt — you can do this manually, or use your phone’s camera to scan the receipt and have the app fill information in. Once your trip is complete, all you need to do is email the full report to your supervisor — they’ll see every receipt, and a quick breakdown of how much you need to be reimbursed.

Download now for: 

IOS ANDROID

Hotspot Shield Free Privacy & Security VPN Proxy

hotspot-shield

In your travels, you may find that certain countries block select websites, like Facebook and Google. One way to get around them is to use a VPN, or a virtual private network, to securely access those blocked sites. Hotspot Shield doesn’t require you to log in, and has a wide coverage that includes 17 countries. Your information is completely private, and connecting to a VPN is dead simple — it just requires a single tap.

Download now for: 

IOS ANDROID

Source : digitaltrends.com

Are you one of those people who can hardly wait to get off work so you can go home and pursue your passion? If you are, have you started to also wonder how you could make your passion into full-time work? Whether you believe it or not, it can be done. All it takes is some dedication to your craft and a little marketing effort. There are many hobbies that can be turned into profitable businesses very quickly. Here are just a few of them:

Photography

If you are able to shift the emphasis of your photography efforts from casual to artistic, chances are good that you could find a ready market for what you produce. Put your work in front of that market, and you’re in business. A lot of photographers with the most followers[1] can earn money by marketing their works over Instagram, Pinterest, and many stock photo online stores.

Fitness Instructor

If you enjoy being fit and think you could teach others to do so, why not become a fitness instructor. You can do it with as little as a desire, but to really be taken seriously, you should get a certification, then the sky is the limit.

Writing

Were you told that you had a knack for writing when you were in school? It so happens that publishers go begging for the work of good writers who produce good work on time. This could be due to the high demand of Internet marketing where articles and content are important and badly needed. Likewise, you can also make your own blog with a certain topic (for example, TechieBlast is a personal blog entirely focused on technology).

Video Creation and Editing

If you enjoy creating videos, with any number of the software packages that are available today you could be in business very quickly. Now is also a good time to offer services that allow people to transform other formats into DVDs, and they need people like you to do the work for them.

Web Design

If you like working with computers and you have a flair for design, why not combine the two with a whole new career in web design? Today’s software can teach you how it’s done, or take a class, and you’re in business.

Graphic Design

There are shelves full of graphic design programs that can turn practically anyone into a designer. But if you’re really good at it, you can make a living out of it. Creativity is pretty much needed to come up with a business idea. Some can even combine a few different passions. Krowmark started by simply designing T-shirts, but now they have expanded their expertise on selling other jackets, tracksuits, bags and incorporate free logo designing. So if you have a flair for art and can improvise an idea, you’re in business.

Auto Mechanics

Do you like cars? Are you someone who enjoys working on their own car? Perhaps you have what it takes to turn a hobby into a career working in the automotive industry.

Sports Refereeing

If you love sports, you could offer yourself up as a referee and stay busy for a season. There are loads of sports, both indoor and outdoor, that you can choose from. If you like to be on a big field, there’s volleyball or basketball. If you are more likely to go indoor, then hang around game room where you’re sure to find ping pong table games and board games[2]that you can keep score with. Better yet, you could learn the finer points of several sports and keep yourself busy all year long.

Carpentry

Do you have a home workshop? You could easily keep busy doing custom cabinetry for others, or make what you like and offer your products for sale.

Teaching and Tutoring

There are many people who would love to sing or play a musical instrument. If you can teach them how, you could make a good living as a teacher or a tutor. One doesn’t need to be a college graduate to start teaching or tutoring someone with a particular instrument. You just need to be good at it.

Studio Musician

If you have a recording studio in your community, you could offer yourself for hire as a studio musician.

Antiques

Do you like antiques? If you do, and you know something about them, you could become a dealer to others who love them as much as you do.

Pets

If you like animals, you could offer your services to others in any number of ways. You could be a groomer, farrier, board and care provider, and sitter. However, since you get to be responsible for other people’s beloved pet, you need to know the basic pet safety. This includes asking the owners for their pet’s age, breed, and also the basic knowledge on food for it (for example, if the cat is allergic to chicken or if pears are safe for dogs[3]).

Baking

Do you like baking? Do your family members and friends swoon when something comes out of the oven? Maybe it’s time to offer your baked goods for sale to others, including restaurants. Mrs. Fields did it, and so can you!

Picking

If you have ever seen the television show American Pickers, you know what picking is all about. Go everywhere you can find things for sale, including garage sales, yard sales, and others, then turn around and sell what you bought at a profit.

References
[1] ^ SocialProof: The Top 20 Instagram Photographers And Their Biographies
[2] ^ GameRoomMania: The Ultimate Games For A Games Room
[3] ^ PetConsider: Can Dog Eat Pears?

Source : lifehack.org

Google’s latest take on machine translation could make it easier for people to communicate with those speaking a different language, by translating speech directly into text in a language they understand.

Machine translation of speech normally works by first converting it into text, then translating that into text in another language. But any error in speech recognition will lead to an error in transcription and a mistake in the translation.

Researchers at Google Brain, the tech giant’s deep learning research arm, have turned to neural networks to cut out the middle step. By skipping transcription, the approach could potentially allow for more accurate and quicker translations.

The team trained its system on hundreds of hours of Spanish audio with corresponding English text. In each case, it used several layers of neural networks – computer systems loosely modelled on the human brain – to match sections of the spoken Spanish with the written translation. To do this, it analysed the waveform of the Spanish audio to learn which parts seemed to correspond with which chunks of written English. When it was then asked to translate, each neural layer used this knowledge to manipulate the audio waveform until it was turned into the corresponding section of written English.

Corresponding patterns

“It learns to find patterns of correspondence between the waveforms in the source language and the written text,” says Dzmitry Bahdanau at the University of Montreal in Canada, who wasn’t involved with the work.

After a learning period, Google’s system produced a better-quality English translation of Spanish speech than one that transcribed the speech into written Spanish first. It was evaluated using the BLEU score, which is designed to judge machine translations based on how close they are to that by a professional human.

The system could be particularly useful for translating speech in languages that are spoken by very few people, says Sharon Goldwater at the University of Edinburgh in the UK.

International disaster relief teams, for instance, could use it to quickly put together a translation system to communicate with people they are trying to assist. When an earthquake hit Haiti in 2010, says Goldwater, there was no translation software available for Haitian Creole.

Goldwater’s team is using a similar method to translate speech from Arapaho, a language spoken by only 1000 or so people in the Native American tribe of the same name, and Ainu, a language spoken by a handful of people in Japan.

Rare languages

The system could also be used to translate languages that are rarely written down, since it doesn’t require a written version of the source language to produce successful translations.

Until it is tested on a much larger dataset, it’s hard to tell how the new approach really compares with more conventional translation systems, says Goldwater. But she thinks it could set the standard for future machine translation.

Some services already use machine translation to let people who speak different languages have conversations in real time. Skype introduced a live speech-to-text translation feature in 2014 and now supports nine languages, including Mandarin and Arabic as well as the most common European languages. But like other existing translation methods, Skype’s transcribes speech into text before translating that text into a different language.

And text translation service Google Translate already uses neural networks on its most popular language pairs, which lets it analyse entire sentences at once to figure out the best written translation. Intriguingly, this system appears to use an “interlingua” – a common representation of sentences that have the same meaning in different languages – to translate from one language to another, meaning it could translate between a language pair it hasn’t explicitly been trained on. The Google Brain researchers suggest the new speech-to-text approach may also be able to produce a system that can translate multiple languages.

But while machine translation keeps improving, it’s difficult to tell how neural networks are coming to their solutions, says Bahdanau. “It’s very hard to understand what’s happening inside.”

By Matt Reynolds

Source : Newscientist.com

Thursday, 30 March 2017 05:31

The best jobs for every personality type

America's biggest companies have been operating on the assumption for decades that certain personalities correspond to certain jobs, and one of the main tools they've used is the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) personality test.

It assigns people one of 16 personality types based on how they measure themselves against four criteria — it's the test where you can find out if you're an ESTJ or an ISTP. According to statistics from a few years ago, around 80% of Fortune 500 companies use the test, as does the world's largest hedge fund.

4x3

To determine five of the best jobs for every personality, we consulted one of the most popular personality guides based on the Myers-Briggs system, "Do What You Are," which has sold more than 1 million copies over its five editions, and spoke with one of its authors, Paul Tieger. (Note: The book is not affiliated with the Myers & Briggs Foundation, the company that manages the official MBTI test.)

The job lists aren't meant to be definitive, but rather serve as a fun way to see how certain occupations attract a particular kind of person.

Figure out which type suits you best, and then check out the charts below.

Source : businessinsider.com

The Chinese search giant’s Deep Voice system learns to talk in just a few hours with little or no human interference.

by Emerging Technology from the arXiv March 8, 2017

In the battle to apply deep-learning techniques to the real world, one company stands head and shoulders above the competition. Google’s DeepMind subsidiary has used the technique to create machines that can beat humans at video games and the ancient game of Go. And last year, Google Translate services significantly improved thanks to the behind-the-scenes introduction of deep-learning techniques.

So it’s interesting to see how other companies are racing to catch up. Today, it is the turn of Baidu, an Internet search company that is sometimes described as the Chinese equivalent of Google. In 2013, Baidu opened an artificial intelligence research lab in Silicon Valley, raising an interesting question: what has it been up to?

Now Baidu’s artificial intelligence lab has revealed its work on speech synthesis. One of the challenges in speech synthesis is to reduce the amount of fine-tuning that goes on behind the scenes. Baidu’s big breakthrough is to create a deep-learning machine that largely does away with this kind of meddling. The result is a text-to-speech system called Deep Voice that can learn to talk in just a few hours with little or no human interference.

First some background. Text-to-speech systems are familiar in the modern world in navigation apps, talking clocks, telephone answering systems, and so on. Traditionally these have been created by recording a large database of speech from a single individual and then recombining the utterances to make new phrases.

The problem with these systems is that it is difficult to switch to a new speaker or change the emphasis in their words without recording an entirely new database. So computer scientists have been working on another approach. Their goal is to synthesize speech in real time from scratch as it is required.

Last year, Google’s DeepMind made a significant breakthrough in this area. It unveiled a neural network that learns how to speak by listening to the sound waves from real speech while comparing this to a transcript of the text. After training, it was able to produce synthetic speech based on text it was given. Google DeepMind called its system WaveNet.

Baidu’s work is an improvement on WaveNet, which still requires some fine-tuning during the training process. WaveNet is also computationally demanding, so much so that it is unclear whether it could ever be used to synthesize speech in real time in the real world.

Baidu says it has overcome these problems. Its approach is relatively simple. It uses deep-learning techniques to convert text to the smallest perceptually distinct units of sound, called phenomes. It then uses a speech synthesis network to reproduce these sounds. The key difference here is that every stage of the process works by deep learning so, once trained, there is little need for human fine-tuning.

Take, for example, the word “hello.” Baidu’s system first has to work out the phenome boundaries in the following way: “(silence HH), (HH, EH), (EH, L), (L, OW), (OW, silence).” It then feeds these into a speech-synthesis system, which utters the word.  

The only variables that the new system does not control are the stresses on the phonemes, their duration, and the natural frequency of the sound. This allows Baidu to change the voice of the speaker and the emotion the word conveys.

All of this is computationally demanding. The sampling rate for realistic speech is in the region of 48 kilohertz. So a computer has about 20 microseconds to generate each sample. Because the process of creating this sound involves several layers, each of these must do its job in 1.5 microseconds. To put this in context, accessing a value that resides in the main memory of a CPU can take 0.1 microseconds.

“To perform inference at real-time, we must take great care to never recompute any results, store the entire model in the processor cache (as opposed to main memory), and optimally utilize the available computational units,” say the Baidu researchers.

Nevertheless, they say that real-time speech synthesis is possible with their system and have tested it by crowdsourcing perceptions of it on Amazon’s Mechanical Turk. This involved asking a large number of listeners to rate the quality of the audio while comparing it to ground truth data in the form of an original human recording.

Baidu says the results are of high quality. “We optimize inference to faster-than-real-time speeds, showing that these techniques can be applied to generate audio in real-time in a streaming fashion,” they say.

But more significant still is the utility of the system, which can be retrained rapidly on entirely new data sets. “Our system is trainable without any human involvement, dramatically simplifying the process of creating text-to-speech systems,” says the team.

That’s interesting work which builds on Google’s efforts to make text-to-speech systems significantly better. That’s important because the decades-old dream of science fiction writers is to be able to speak to computers in real time and for them to answer back. Text-to-speech is an important part of that.

Of course, it is unlikely that Google’s DeepMind (or anybody else in the world of deep learning) has been sitting still while Baidu perfects its synthetic speech system. It will surely be just a matter of time before we see what they’ve been up to and how it compares.

Ref:  arxiv.org/abs/1702.07825: Deep Voice: Real-time Neural Text-to-Speech

Source : https://www.technologyreview.com/s/603811/baidus-artificial-intelligence-lab-unveils-synthetic-speech-system/

Google will cease sales of its Google Site Search product on April 1, 2017. Current customers will still be able to use the product on their sites throughout the remainder of their license. The product is set to be completely removed from the web by April 1, 2018.

This news was delivered via e-mail to Google Site Search customers:

“We are winding down the Google Site Search product over the next year, but will provide customer and technical support through the duration of license agreements.

 

“For GSS users whose contract expires between April 1st and June 30th, 2017, we are providing a free 3-month extension with additional query volume to allow more time for them to implement the necessary changes to their site. GSS customers may also take advantage of our Custom Search Engine solution, an ads-supported model that offers similar functionality.

 

“We continue to build out new functionality and invest in new technology that make enterprise search a great experience for our customers. Just recently, we introduced the general availability of Google Cloud Search for G Suite customers.”

Alternatives to Google Site Search

Regardless of how long the rest of your license is set to last, if Google Site Search is a product you value having on your website it’s best to start looking into some alternatives now before Google leaves you in the dust.

Google Custom Search
Google has not revealed plans to do away with Google Custom Search any time soon, so for now it is still a viable alternative. Google Custom Search can be described as an ad-supported version of Google Site Search, albeit with some limitations.

Some of the key differences involve Custom Search searching the entire web, as well as pages on your own site. There is no option to remove Google’s branding, and it comes with no tech support from Google. With that being said it is completely free to use, whereas Site Search was $100/year minimum.

Google Cloud Search
Google Cloud Search comes bundled with the Business and Enterprise editions of G Suite, and is currently one of the best alternatives at the moment for internal search. It’s capable of searching through the entire G Suite to find what you need, including Gmail, Calendar, Docs, Sheets and Slides

Amazon CloudSearch
If you don’t mind using the services of another search provider altogether, there’s always Amazon CloudSearch. CloudSearch can best be described as Amazon’s answer to the soon-to-be defunct Google Site Search. It’s a scalable search solution for your website or application, with support for 34 languages.

Source : https://www.searchenginejournal.com/google-site-search-shutter-april-1-2017-alternatives/187303/

(Preparation is key, says Harvard student Jessica Pointing.Jessica Pointing) 

Jessica Pointing knows how to interview.

The Harvard University junior received internship offers from companies including Google, Apple, Facebook, Microsoft, McKinsey, Bain, Goldman Sachs, and Morgan Stanley.

A computer science and physics major, she has received offer letters for roles in software engineering, data science, product management, consulting, investment banking, trading, and quantitative finance.

How does she do it? She credits being prepared and relaxed with her string of successful interviews.

Pointing published her best interviewing tips on her blog, the Optimize Guide, which features educational and career advice for high school and college students. Business Insider has shared her tips below, with permission.

1. Do your homework

Pointing made sure to hit the books before interviewing.

"I treated the internship interviews as a class — I studied material from books and did practice problems before the test (aka the interview)," she said. "There is usually a go-to book for each industry." These books help prepare job candidates, covering likely interview topics and even featuring practice problems.

For example, for software engineering interviews, she recommends "Cracking the Coding Interview" by Gayle Laakmann McDowell, while people going for consulting gigs should brush up on "Case in Point" by Marc Cosentino.

2. Develop a structure for problem-solving

The stress of interviewing can make it pretty easy to blank when you're speaking to a hiring manager.

That's why Pointing says it's important to adopt a problem-solving mindset.

Here's the structure she used for answering questions in her software engineering interviews:

  • Repeat the question to make sure that you understand it and have all the relevant details.
  • Clarify the function input and output.
  • Check assumptions.
  • Give an approach to solving the problem.
  • Discuss the tradeoffs of the approach.
  • Code the solution.
  • Test the solution with a normal test case.
  • Test the solution with some edge cases.

She also broke down the approach she uses for consulting interviews:

  • Repeat the question to make sure that you understand it and have all the relevant details.
  • Explain the objectives of the case and ask if there are any more objectives.
  • Ask any clarifying questions.
  • Generate ideas and a solution.
  • Organize and structure the answer.
  • For calculations, give insight into what the calculated number means.
  • Summarize the case at the end.

"These structures ensure that I hit almost everything I need to mention for a successful interview," Pointing said. "In consulting, giving insights into a number you just calculated separates a good candidate from a great candidate."

3. Practice and strategize

"It is very important to practice in an interview setting before the interview," Pointing said. "If your college offers mock interviews, take them! Some companies offer mock interviews, too. There are other services out there, such as Refdash, that give you free mock interviews. Do a practice interview at every opportunity."

If at all possible, Pointing recommends scheduling your "dream interview" last. That way, all of your interviews before can serve as practice sessions.

4. Have a backup plan

Interviews can be pretty stressful.

So how can you keep your cool when the stakes are high?

Pointing advises having a backup plan in mind. You should always have an alternative path to pursue if your job or internship opportunity falls through.

"If you are interviewing for the summer and you go into an interview with no plan for the summer, then you will probably be way more stressed," Pointing said. "Instead, if you already have an offer or a vague idea of something you would do in the summer (e.g. travel), then the stakes for the interview aren't as high. The more options you already have, the more relaxed you will be in the interview and the higher your chances are for the job."

So take some pressure off yourself and make sure to sketch out a backup plan.

5. Invest time

The interviewing process isn't just about setting time aside to talk to a bunch of hiring managers. You'll need to devote time to reading, practicing, and perhaps even traveling.

"I traveled across the country more than six times in 12 weeks for my interviews and spent approximately 80 hours in planes," Pointing said. "Make sure you have enough time in your schedule to invest in your internship search process. You should dedicate a few hours each day practicing for interviews. I scheduled time in my calendar for interview practice for every morning (after my regular morning routine)."

6. Create a question bank

Pointing recommends that after each interview, job candidates write down interview questions and solutions, as well as their own strengths and areas they could improve on.

"In one of my software engineering interviews, I missed a particular data structure that would have allowed me to have given a more efficient solution, but I made a note of it, and in another interview later on, I ran into a question where I could use that data structure," she said. "After doing enough cases and problems, you will start to recognize patterns, and you will become more confident and quicker in solving problems."

Author: Áine Cain
Source: http://finance.yahoo.com/news/harvard-junior-received-internship-offers-202342580.html

Sunday, 15 January 2017 06:06

The 100 Best Android Apps of 2017

With millions of apps in the Play Store, searching for the best Android apps is daunting. Whether you need a great weather app or a new browser, there are always dozens available. Here at AndroidPIT, we’ve spent hours curating the top Android apps for every purpose, and compiled only the best of them into one list. Here are the best Android apps of 2017.

    Best messenger apps for Android

    Studies have shown that smartphone users message each other back and forth much more than they make calls. Users need a good messenger app. It's a big choice, so here are two of our favorites.

    WhatsApp

    WhatsApp, the ubiquitous chat app, has been installed on over one billion smartphones. And it's always improving user experience, adding new features and becoming more secure. What makes it number one? Everyone uses it, simple as that. If you already use WhatsApp, then you should check out our favorite 

    Telegram

    No messaging app comes close to the number of users WhatsApp has, but there are some great alternatives out there. Telegram is one of them. The free app has end-to-end encryption, does group chats and is a pioneer of chatbots. Unlike some other messengers, you can use it on multiple devices. Read our full review of Telegram.

    telegram contacts en

    Best file manager apps for Android

    Solid Explorer

    In light of the turn ES File Explorer has taken, we've tested out a few alternatives in search of a replacement. One app we've settled on is Solid Explorer. It's feature-rich and highly accessible thanks to a crisp Material Design UI. It also houses a very handy double-panel display that lets you navigate to two separate folders and drag a file across from one to the other. Integration with cloud services like Google Drive, Dropbox and OneDrive, as well as FTP servers, make it a formidable all-in-one solution for managing your files.

    Some of its other features include hidden folders, ZIP and RAR archive extraction, and customization through icons, color schemes and themes. The app is free to try out for two weeks, and then you have the option to pay $2, so you've nothing to lose by trying it out and seeing what you think.

    AndroidPIT best file explorers solid explorer 1

    Amaze File Manager

    The Amaze File Manager is free and easy it use. It has all the basic features you'd expect: quick access to files, deleting, copying, moving, etc. Unfortunately, you can't access data on your MicroSD card through the drop down menu, you must use the file tree. Amaze doesn't support cloud storage.

    When looking in individual folders, you can toggle between list and table view. Amaze can create thumbnails for many file formats, but not for PDFs.

    Best keyboard apps for Android

    Fleksy

    This keyboard is one of the best for fast, accurate typing and it’s our new company favorite. Many of us have adopted Fleksy because it’s big, it’s clever and once you use it for a couple of hours, you realize how useful some of the smaller details are.

    For example, most keyboards use a "press and hold delete key" gesture to delete words, Fleksy uses a super-quick backward swipe. Be sure check out some of the extensions like invisible keyboard too — it works surprisingly well. Download it from the Play Store for free now. 

    androidpit fleksy keyboard 1

    SwiftKey

    Whoever is looking for a very special virtual keyboard for Android will find one here. SwiftKey works wonderfully with tablets, and if you simply want a good Android keyboard, it offers intuitive operation, very good spell check and word recognition.

    Best weather apps for Android

    Morecast

    There are plenty of weather apps available that are more accurate and better looking than the ones that come pre-installed on your Android device. MORECAST is our current favorite weather app here at AndroidPIT because it has one of the best-looking interfaces, with a clear and sensible layout. It's also one of the most advanced apps of its kind, featuring such options as side-by-side weather comparisons for two cities, and accurate weather information for a particular route or journey. MORECAST is the right way to make a smartphone weather app, and best of all, it's free. 

    MORECAST is our current favorite weather app here at AndroidPIT because it has one of the best-looking interfaces, with a clear and sensible layout. It's also one of the most advanced apps of its kind, featuring such options as side-by-side weather comparisons for two cities, and accurate weather information for a particular route or journey. MORECAST is the right way to make a smartphone weather app, and best of all, it's free. 

    androidpit weather app 1

    Best GPS and navigation apps for Android

    HERE Maps

    Apart from the obvious Google Maps, this is one of the very best. HERE is Nokia's own map app, which it used on its devices once upon a time. It provides everything you'd expect, including turn-by-turn navigation, search and satellite imagery, but the main draw is its offline feature. You can download maps of entire countries and use them almost exactly as you would online, without wasting precious MBs.

    This is really an indispensable app if you travel a lot or frequently find your data usage going over the limit. The only downside is that you have to register to download maps, but it's totally free, and once you've done it, you can go nuts and download the world.

    androidpit maps for names 1

    Best image-editing apps for Android

    PhotoDirector

    PhotoDirector is the whole package. It has everything you could possibly need to edit your photos. The tools range from simple text bubbles and filters, to more complex things such as HSL and curves, and they're all heavily adjustable, helping you get the best out of your photos. It's for messing around on and seeing what you end up with.

    The app is developed by CyberLink, a large Taiwanese multimedia software company, so they have the money to splash on an app, and it shows. Highly recommended for novices and pros-on-the-go alike.

    androidpit best apps photodirector 1

    Best apps for music, movies and TV

    Watching TV and movies

    Hulu is an excellent app for watching movies and TV shows on Android. It's a free service that relies on ads, but there are some great shows available. You need to pay a subscription fee to access all of the content, but there is a range of excellent shows available without subscription, including classic US comedies such as Family Guy, Seinfeld and South Park.

    It's currently restricted to the US, but hopefully we'll see Hulu appearing in more territories soon.  

    androidpit hulu sony xperia z3 compact 2

    Downloading free music

    Google Play Music is our favorite app for downloading free music right now. Though there are many music download apps available in the Play Store, they are often quickly removed because of their copyright-impinging functionality. Google Play Music provides you with a totally legit, ever-changing list of free tracks from major artists to download.

    Spotify has an excellent paid subscription service, and SoundCloud has a multitude of tracks readily available to stream, but for actually downloading tracks to your phone, Google Play Music is as good as you can get. Alternatively, head to the link below for some less common free music downloading apps. 

     

    androidpit google play music sony xperia z3 compact

    Best music player

    The Walkman and the iPod are as good as dead, because our smartphones have taken over as powerful music players. While the default music apps on your Android device probably do a fine job, if you want to crank up the bass or other aspects of your music, you'll need something more.

    One of the best music player apps for Android is Poweramp. It’s a great way to enjoy your favorite music, with a ton of options and support for almost any type of file. You can’t go wrong with Poweramp.

     

    AndroidPIT music apps poweramp

    Best productivity apps for Android

    Password manager

    Manually typing passwords takes a lot of time and remembering them all is difficult. Everybody has forgotten a password or two at some point in their lives. Enter Dashlane, the app which saves all of them so you can easily copy and paste these into online forms when necessary.

    A common concern with password manager apps is whether you can trust their security service. Dashlane uses encrypted codes and regularly monitors them to ensure you have peace of mind.

    What's more, Dashlane streamlines and secures other types of data used in online forms, like credit card information. You can save financial details and quickly copy them onto your online shopping portal of choice. And it automatically saves the receipts of all your purchases so you can track your spending. 

     

    AndroidPIT best productivity apps 1

    Best cloud storage app

    Obviously, the whole Google Apps suite is essential to office productivity. And, cloud storage is so commonplace now that its name doesn't sound quite as mystical and ethereal as it did a few years ago. That doesn't make it any less useful, as storing your personal data online is - for the most part - much safer than keeping it on a fragile old hard drive.

    We're prepared to accept accusations of bias here, as our favorite cloud storage app is Google Drive. It's baked into most Android devices, Google is always giving extra GBs of storage space away for free, and it's synced up with the handy Google Docs office suite. It's the undisputed champ.

     

    androidpit drive docs material design

    Best security/antivirus apps for Android

    Mobile Security & Antivirus from Avast

    Android security is a contentious subject and arguments about the safety of the system crop up frequently. If you are in the market for an antivirus app, our current favorite is Mobile Security & Antivirus from Avast.

    Mobile Security & Antivirus keeps you safe from malware threats with its excellent virus detection software, which can search through your browser history, microSD card, and internal storage space. What's more, it employs anti-theft features such as location tracking and remote data wipe, which work even if your device is not currently in your possession. 

    As far as free mobile security is concerned, Avast's app is about as comprehensive as it gets. 

     

    AndroidPIT androidpit avast antivirus 1

    Best apps for personalizing your Android

    Action Launcher 3

    Launchers offer a simple way to customize the look and feel of your Android phone. They often combine new icons, a new app drawer layout, a new homescreen and new wallpaper to make your device fit a certain style or theme.

    You have to try them out to appreciate how fun they can be and the one we recommend right now is Action Launcher 3. This is an excellent introduction to launchers because it provides clear and intuitive interface changes without adding so many that it becomes off-putting.

    With Action Launcher 3 you can perform simple tweaks such as changing the app drawer layout, changing app icons, and even altering the way you use your homescreen folders. It offers genuinely useful interface improvements and it's free; download it from the link below.

      androidpit action launcher 3 galaxy s4

    Nova Launcher

    iOS is a fierce rival to Android and offers a range of great apps and features, but it doesn't offer everything that Android does. Nova Launcher is one of our favorite Android-exclusive apps because, in many ways, it underlines what is so great about Android.

    Nova is an alternative launcher compatible with Android 4.1 onward. It lets you customize the entire look and feel of your operating system, from changes to font size, to the number of apps that can appear on the lock screen, to the way in which your app drawer scrolls. Nova Launcher is a prime example of how Android can be molded to suit individual tastes and preferences, in a way that iOS cannot.

    If you wish you could make a few simple changes to your current interface, then give the free version of Nova a try. Nova even lets you adopt the look of any other phone - Galaxy, Xperia, HTC, LG, even iOS if that's your thing.

    Next Lock Screen

    Lock screen apps are awesome - you can do things on your smartphone or tablet without even having to unlock it. From checking notifications, calendar reminders, music controls, missed calls, Quick Settings and more, Next Lock Screen lets you take control of your locked phone. Next will even suggest apps based on your location.

    androidpit next lock screen

    Author: Eric Herrmann
    Source: https://www.androidpit.com/best-android-apps

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